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First Look

News/Business. The day's live news coverage.

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00:30:00

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New York 6, Citi 4, Usaa 3, Jessica Simpson 3, Nbc 3, Texas 3, Hollywood 3, Hawaii 3, Alabama 3, Inouye 2, Oscar 2, Richard Lui 2, Newtown 2, Indiana 2, Spengler 2, Southern Illinois 2, London 2, Elizabeth 2, Washington 2, Mitchell 1,
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  MSNBC    First Look    News/Business. The  
   day's live news coverage.  

    December 26, 2012
    2:30 - 3:00am PST  

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this morning on "first look," a nasty storm brings
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trech douse blizzard conditions to parts of the south, not over yet. president obama brings his christmas vacation short as the clock ticks down on the fiscal cliff. and why are movies so long? a look at the world's longest high speed train. good morning to you. i'm richard lui. christmas was anything but merry for residents of the deep south, where a winter storm packed a dangerous deadly punch. at least three deaths are being blamed on a severe weather system that spawned tornadoes in four states and dumped snow as far south as texas. the latest from alabama. >> reporter: oh, wow. oh, jesus, look at that tornado. >> reporter: in mobile, alabama, a christmas surprise no one wished for. a tornado caught on video as it touched down right this city center. emergency management officials say the twister left lots of damage in its wake blowing out first and second floor windows at the mobile infirmary medical center and the roof at the high
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school. so far no injuries or death, but wit trees and power lines down tens of thousands are without electricity. one store sent customers scrambling for cover. >> one customer looked out the window and said there's actually a tornado coming. i looked out and you could see the sparks flying and debris flying around. i got everybody together, about seven customers. everybody huddle around we need to go to the back. >> i probably hurt my baby grabbing her and huddling for protection. there was no time. >> reporter: it was a massive storm system that stretched across the nation. earlier a tornado touched down in mcneil, mississippi and several people suffered minor injuries. in texas, one near crockett decide to livestock feed store and high winds toppled trees killing a driver trying to remove another limb from a road
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and a white christmas for the dallas area making driving treacherous and in lubbock, texas, it looked like a winter wonderland and it could cause more problems later in the week as it moves east. birmingham, alabama. nbc's dillon dryer will tell us where more storms are headed. stay tuned for that. and lawmakers one more time to avert the fiscal cliff before the new year. president obama will head back to washington tonight. danielle leigh is on capitol hill. good morning. does a deal still look doable? >> good morning. there is hope for a deal but confidence in that grand bargain reform has all but disappeared. americans are already taking a good hard look at their wallets as confidence the avoidance of the fiscal cliff diminishes.
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>> there is hope a deal will be cut. >> reporter: if congress doesn't oaks spire tax cuts in day, middle income earners will owe $2,000 extra a year. consumers are predicted to cut back in automotive, apparel and entertainment. >> once people decide to cut back on that, the effect is dramatic. >> reporter: the national retail federation says retailers support 1 in 4 american jobs and if the downward trend intensify, those jobs would be at risk. >> if retailers stop creating job, the economy as a whole will stop creating jobs. >> reporter: the wait is e excruciating. president obama visited hawaii after talks on capitol hill. they were $200 billion apart on a deal. >> the president was $2200 billion higher on revenues and speaker boehner, $200 billion on
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spending cuts. >> if you get 80% of what you want, that's a pretty good day. >> reporter: tough decision ahead, six days left. >> lawmakers are saying they will likely take on tax reform and spending cuts again in the new year when the debt ceiling debate heats up. richard, back to you. >> looks like they will be working over the new year. thanks for your time. a note was left by the suspected shooter that killed two firefighters in new york. more on details of the person already convicted of murder. >> reporter: police say this christmas eve ambush of four volunteer firefighters attacked as they arrived to battle a massive fire in new york. >> it was a raging inferno out there. >> reporter: it was spelled out in typewritten detail. >> quote i still have to get ready to see how much of the neighborhood i can burn down and do what i like doing best, killing people. >> reporter: authorities say 62-year-old william spengler, who served prison time for killing his grandmother more
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than 30 years ago shot at first responders who arrived at his burning house, the fire spread to six other homes. >> we are being shot at. multiple firemen down. i am shot. ease using an assault rifle. >> he was equipped to go to war killing innocent people. >> reporter: the gunman was well fortified. . .38 caliber handgun, 12 gauge shotgun and bushmaster 23 rifle, the same used in the connecticut school shooting. two firefighters were killed and two others hospitalized. spengler, police say, killed himself. they revealed human remains were found in spengler's burned house and authorities suspect they belong to his missing sister. >> motive is always the question and not sure we will know what's going on in his manned. >> reporter: they suspect his 91-year-old mother's death and donation she made to this fire
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department could help explain the motive for christmas eve shootings. former president grge w.h. bush remained in christmas where he spent time with family. the 41st president surfaced setbacks in his recovery and why they could not release him for christmas as hoped to do originally. the 88-year-old former president has been hospitalized since thanksgiving for what was initially described as a bronchitis type cough. in weeks since he became weak and developed a fever and doctors are cautiously optimistic he will recover. we return to our meteorologist. when you talk about tornado tornadoes -- >> they bring blizzards to other parts of the country and a report of 19 tornadoes questioned and that whole threat
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of severe storms will continue to spread east through the day. there, you see the rotation moving through western tennessee, that's your area of rotation, it is a big one, a strong storm bringing significant snowfall to southern illinois and southern indiana right now. here's your chance of severe weather moving through southeastern georgia and the carolinas, especially the coast, where we could see more tornadoes develop today. we have haeavy rain from wester south carolina and georgia area and albany area and will continue to spread and we have heavy rain through illinois and indiana and will bring blizzard conditions to ohio and lake ontario as well. here's a chance of seeing them develop today. eastern north carolina, eastern south carolina and even just severe thunderstorms where we
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could get wind gusts 50 to 70 miles an hour. here's where our snow is going to be. we are looking for perhaps a foot of snow through ohio and northwestern pennsylvania and northwestern new york state. on top of that, we could see wind gusts up to 45 miles an hour. blizzard conditions will be felt through the great lakes region. >> good thing in terms of what we're feeling so far, we don't have snow on those trees in many spots. >> that's a good point, snow on trees and wind, we could be talking about more damage. that's not the case. holiday sales highs and lows and instagram's legal troubles and where folks are cutting their commute in half. she's the face of weight watchers and now jessica simpson is about to put the pounds back on.
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welcome back. some stories making news this morning. a bomb exploded at a major u.s. military base in eastern afghanistan this morning killing
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the attacker and two afghans. and hawaii's governor may appoint a replacement for the late senator inouye as early as today. senator reed asked a decision be made quickly to ensure hawaii's representation in fiscal cliff negotiations is there. it is said senator inouye endorsed a person before he died. >> and ben affleck has taken his name off the list for senator and says while he loves the political process, he will not be running for office. a new "washington post" pole shows a bleak outlook for the coming year, 40% are hopeful and 56% say they are fearful. the miami heat grabbed the
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top spot in the eastern conference by surviving a battle with the oklahoma city thunder. lebron james, dwyane wade and mario chalmers combined for 51 poin points. in los angeles, rihanna and chris brown are courtside as the lakes pick up a victory over the new york knicks. kobe bryant serving 34, topping 30 points for the ninth straight game. get out of the way. numbers from the retailers are rolling in. so far not that great. holiday sales were up just .7% since last year, the slowest growth in spending since 2008. even online shopping which posted double digit growth the past few years was only up 8.4% in 2011. and a specialty store, sur la
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special, table saw its biggest sales last saturday. a class action against instagram in response to last week's uproar over revised service terms that suggest user photos might be sold without consent. facebook vows to fight it vigorously. the tsa is testing a pilot program that lets average travellers keep their shoes on and leave liquids in their carry-on bags. the test here is you have to get past a bomb sniffing bag and agent especially trained to detect suspicious behavior. let's bring you to china. the world's longest running high speed train is off between beijing and gauuangzhou will take eight hours instead of 20. and in wake of the tragedy at newtown, now known as the 26 acts movement was sparked with a tweet by our own colleague, ann
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curry, who learned more about this global out-pouring of generosity from carl quintilla. >> reporter: it started with a simple idea posted to twitter. what if we could honor the 26 lives lost at sandy hook elementary with small acts of kindness, leaving a stranger an unexpected treat or inspirational message or a way to keep warm. >> i've always made quilts. i thought, wouldn't it be nice to make quilt, one for each child and then donate them. >> reporter: using the #26acts, people began sharing their kindness on social media and just nine days later what has become a massive wave reaching to the halls of congress. >> i think america was looking for ways to demonstrate their grief, caring, empathy. >> reporter: to the other side of the world. >> i just kind of thought, you know, if this makes someone smile, that's a pretty good thing. >> reporter: as more and more
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people shared their good deeds online, they inspired others. teachers challenged their students. in rhode island, ashley prugh's class is collecting food and books for underprivileged. >> they by far exceeded anything i could have expected. >> reporter: after giving hand warmers to her bus driver, stephanie challenged her co-workers to do something, too. now the social media director at chicago's w. hotel, is sharing each of their acts of kindness on the company's facebook page. >> we have so many employees and so many people can do good things and hopefully other people will pick up on it and pass it on. >> reporter: adding to an unexpected surge of good will. there's no telling how far it can go. >> amazing. that was nbc's carl quintilla. jessica simpson addressing pregnancy rumors. and super-sized holiday
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movie this season. why are these movies so long? straight ahead. over the south pacific in 1943. i got mine in iraq, 2003. usaa auto insurance is often handed down from generation to generation. because it offers a superior level of protection, and because usaa's commitment to serve the military, veterans and their families is without equal. begin your legacy, get an auto insurance quote. usaa. we know what it means to serve. time for citi price rewind. because your daughter really wants that pink castle thing. and you really don't want to pay more than you have to. only citi price rewind automatically searches for the lowest price. and if it finds one, you get refunded the difference. just use your citi card and register your purchase online. have a super sparkly day! ok. [ male announcer ] now all you need is a magic carriage. citi price rewind. start saving at citi.com/pricerewind.
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welcome back to "first look." christmas should be a day of joy and celebration and recent tragic events gave this year's holiday a deficit feeling. >> reporter: in newtown, connecticut, it was a day of lingering heartache. empty stockings hung as reminders of loss filled with gifts.
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first responders from surrounding communities gave their time so surrounding police could spend the time with their families. >> this is why we're here. something needs to be done. glad we can be here. >> a pleasure to help them out. >> police officers giving police officers time off, you couldn't ask for a better christmas gift. >> reporter: in the new york airy, where hundreds are still without homes because of hurricane sandy, volunteers tried to deliver some holiday spirit. >> every table is labelled. >> reporter: handing out food, toys and blankets at relief centers. >> it's important people come out and help people. you can't put a price on that or buy that either. >> reporter: in places spared direct tragedy americans marked the day in their own ways while keeping those less fortunate in their thoughts. >> when people are suffering and going through hardship, many, many people come to offer their help in whatever they can do.
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>> reporter: across the nation, americans attended church services and spent time with family and friends. at the mitchell home outside chicago, even young members of the extended family said this christmas felt deficit. >> i just like being with my family. not presents, it's just family what matters to me. >> ho, ho, ho, let's go. >> reporter: a day for giving and giving thanks for what we have every day. john yang, nbc news, chicago. it was a very royal christmas in burton, where the queen and her family marked the holiday in royal fashion but these are a few differences. reporting from london. >> reporter: queen elizabeth began her 60th christmas on the throne as she has every other at a morning church service with prince philip and other royals in tow. afterwards she greeted several hundreds who waited hours to see the royals at christmas but there were missing places at the christmas lunch table.
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prince harry out fighting in afghanistan and william and kate spent their day with the prince princess' parents and their siblings in kate's hometown. a shocking breach of protocol? hardly. >> they want to do their own thing. the queen is kind of a 20th century queen and the laws allow that. >> reporter: so 21st century, she did it in 3d. >> reporter: it is after all, queen elizabeth that bridged the phone age to social networking and facebook and she's even a doodle on google. >> by the time she made her first televised christmas speech 55 years, the queen was already in the eyes of many britons, a monarch in the old and new. >> for those it's possible to see me today, it's another example of the speed of which things are changing all around us.
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>> reporter: more than ever at christmas she remains a symbol of longevity and tradition as the windsors look forward to kate's first child and heir to the throne at next year's christmas reunion. jim meceda, nbc news, london. if you plan to head to the movie, you better make sure you have a little extra time because many of this season's blockbusters are clocking in at almost three hours. a report from hollywood. >> reporter: they are epic productions, earning oscar buzz. >> shall we stop this bleeding? >> reporter: this year's blockbusters have something else in common. you better block out three hours if you want to see one. as we approach the end of the year, hollywood's heavyweights are posting some hefty run times. spielberg's "lincoln" clocks in at 2 1/2 hours. "les miserables" is almost
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three hours. >> and a whop iping 2:49, "neverending." >> they should all be called the never ending story. >> one word of advice, go to the toilet before the movie started. >> reporter: why try to hold the moviegoers attention so long. many say blame it on oscar. there's a feeling in hollywood the academy won't take a best picture contender seriously if it's under two hours. this time of year, studios are racing to release these epics before the oscar deadlines. >> any film that opens on christmas day is also eligible for oscar. >> reporter: long oscars is nothing new. "gone with the wind" was almost four hours but included an intermission. >> frankly my dear, i don't give a damn. >> reporter: they don't seem to mind. >> if i'm involved in the subject matter, i'm all for it.
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>> reporter: experts predict a record box office take of almost $11 millions this year, a sign sup supersized movies may be around a very long time. >> is she or isn't she? jessica simpson finally addressed weeks of rumors whether she is expecting a second child. the 32-year-old singer who gave birth to her daughter, maxwell just seven months ago found a playful way to let the cat out of the bag. she tweeted a photo of of maxwell titled "big sis." scribbled in sand. frs simpson and her fiance, former nfl pro eric johnson have been engaged since 2010. now, let's take a look at the weather. a lot to watch today. dylan dreyer. >> a lot to watch today and yesterday and even into tomorrow. another threat of tornadoes down this time to the east of the carolinas today and looking at more snow starting to look into the great lakes region.
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we have really cold air, billings, montana, 1 degree and denver at zero. you factor wind on top of that it feels like it is almost 10 below in some areas. chicago 20 degrees and precipitation in that area, cold enough for snow. all through southern illinois, indiana, up to ohio, northwestern pennsylvania and northwestern new york state, almost a foot of snow. and new york city and boston will move to all rain. down across the southeast today we will see the same type of severe storms we saw yesterday, wind gusts of 50 miles an hour and it's a busy day. >> on your map i like miami and honolulu in the 80s. i'll pick those. >> i'm with you on that. >> i'm richard lui. this is "first look" on msnbc. "morning joe" is coming up the top of the hour. [ woman ] ring. ring.
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